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A303 road past Stonehenge set to be moved into tunnel

A major road past Stonehenge is set to be moved into a tunnel, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Proposals for the A303 include building a 1.8 mile dual carriageway tunnel as it passes the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire.

The road, currently a single carriageway, is a notorious bottleneck on the route to the South West.

The tunnel would remove the sight and sound of traffic for people visiting Stonehenge and improve journeys, DfT officials claimed.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: " This major investment in the South West will transform the A303 and benefit those locally by cutting congestion and improving journey times.

"It will also boost the economy, linking people with jobs and businesses with customers."

The tunnel is part of £2 billion of investment in the South West, the DfT said.

A major international report published in May last year concluded that a tunnel could benefit Stonehenge if the scheme is well designed and constructed.

Heritage groups which manage the area have previously said it would make the setting of the ancient stone circle more tranquil, give the public greater access to the wider prehistoric landscape and improve the environment for wildlife.

Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan said: " Our plans for the A303 recognise the national importance of the route and these improvements will bring real benefit to the region and local communities."

A consultation into the Stonehenge proposals will run until March 5, with the preferred route announced later this year.

The scheme to tackle congestion in the area was announced by the Government in December 2014.

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